• Monday June 24, 2019 17:39 PM
  • NILS Press Corps

The Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman has charged the Opposition leaders in the Ugandan Parliament to always keep the government in power on their toes through legislative interventions, instead of the judiciary. He made this charge on Monday, June 24, 2019 while declaring open a benchmarking workshop organized by the Institute at the instance of the members of the Opposition in the Ugandan Parliament, to strengthen their capacities to provide constructive and effective opposition.

He stated that the core aim of the 5-day benchmarking workshop is to provide a forum for Ugandan Parliamentarians to deliberate among themselves and with resource persons and their counterparts from the National Assembly on strategies for constituting an effective opposition.

Prof. Sulaiman also stated that effective opposition in democracies serves several functions including to ensure a transparent and responsible government serving the public interest. “More specifically, the opposition’s role is to: criticise government’s programme, decisions and actions by closely examining its policies, draft laws and budget; offer political alternatives by developing its own programmes and proposing alternative solutions to the decisions planned by the government; improve the parliamentary decision-making procedure by ensuring debate, analysis and the presentation of divergent opinions; monitor and oversee the activities of the government and the administrative authorities; and strengthen the stability, legitimacy, accountability and transparency of the political process” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, in his keynote address, the Director, Legislative Support Services at the Institute, Prof. Tawfiq Ladan stated that the Parliamentary Account Committees (PAC) usually chaired by the opposition play a critical oversight role. He informed that “the scrutiny role of the PAC is based on the fact that Parliaments have the constitutional duty to provide an important check on corrupt practices and abuse of power/office in government and improve government’s management of public resources to promote sustainable development effectively”.

Moreover, the constitutional duty of the PACs is to provide the necessary checks and balances on the activities of the Executive/MDAs on behalf of the citizens, especially by examining the financial performance of the Executive and report to parliament.

Earlier, the leader of the Ugandan Opposition in Parliament, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan expressed gratitude to the Management of the Institute and indeed National Assembly for creating such a noble opportunity for the Ugandan Parliament to benchmark on the experiences of the Nigerian National Assembly. She said Nigeria has done fairly well, having had 20 years of uninterrupted period of democratic governance, hence in a better position to lend their experience to the delegation.